To say the Internet will fundamentally change the way people discover and access opportunities would be disingenuous. The Internet has already restructured the old order of learning and growth. Today, there are over 48 million Nigerians online – connecting, creating, and accessing opportunities regardless of class, educational background or affiliations.
Four years ago, when Eric Obuh, a.k.a Vocal Slender, was told about videos on him circulating on the internet, he could not have guessed how much impact that exposure would have on his life. Eric, who at the time was making a living from trading off disposed items in Lagos, had just been featured in the BBC documentary “Welcome to Lagos”. What he didn’t know at the time was that the documentary had also been shared on YouTube, and the world was already talking about the Nigerian who gave up his love of music because he didn’t have the means or affiliations needed to break into the music industry.
Fast forward to today, Eric has 2 music videos with thousands of views on YouTube and has performed in front of a huge crowd at London’s famous O2 Arena.
Online tools like YouTube makes it easier for individuals to access information and build followership that they could never previously have. A 2013 study by BRIU (BusinessDay Research and Intelligence Unit) estimated that 84 per cent of Nigerians go online for information gathering purposes.
And with the cost of internet access falling and the speed of broadband accelerating, the web is going to become an increasingly powerful tool in the hands of Nigerians looking to start out in business.
Eseoghene Odiete is Creative Director at Hesey Designs, a fashion outfit that specializes in making bags in Lagos. Through Google Search and YouTube, this fashion entrepreneur learnt how to create handbags, and found contacts for blogs and magazines to feature her products. In addition to emerging one of the five most inspiring web stories in Africa at the Google “Africa Connected” competition, Eseoghene recently emerged one of the winners of the the British council enterprise challenge and as part of the winning prize, met Sir Richard Branson for a mentoring session in the UK. SEE MORE ON PAGE2